A large crowd at the community meeting listen as Dr. Rod Weber, Superintendent of Woonsocket Schools, asks questions about the childcare issues in Woonsocket.

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, around 50 people congregated in the Woonsocket Community and Events Center to discuss the lack of daycare available in the Woonsocket community. The meeting was called by the Executive Board of the Woonsocket Community Care and Learning Center. The board members are Gay Swenson, Lisa Snedeker, Chelsea Schulz and Kayla Vetter. They organized the meeting for community members and daycare providers to come together and discuss the daycare crisis Woonsocket is currently having with no room for babies under the age of one in anyone’s daycare facility, including the center.

Lisa Snedeker spoke first to explain the purpose behind the meeting and to inform attendees about the situation the center is in. They have been running in the red for quite a while, and without funding from COVID money, it would be very difficult for them to stay open. They are trying to find solutions, but they are also concerned about the lack of daycare openings in Woonsocket. With the center open, there are waiting lists at all daycares, so that would only be worse if the center has to close. If the town loses more daycare, young families won’t be able to live here because they won’t have a place to take their kids while they work. Therefore, the biggest concern is not just keeping the center open but to figure out what can be done to provide more openings for daycare of any children under the age of one.

…Read on in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

On Wednesday, Jan. 11, members of the Town and Country Volunteer Fire Department out of Woonsocket traveled to Fedora to receive a grant from the South Dakota Salutes Special Needs Fund. Upon a second review using an application process managed by the Independent Insurance Agents of South Dakota, the South Dakota Salutes organization chose Town and Country Fire Department to receive a $2,500 grant. Town and Country’s intention for the grant money is to purchase battery-powered lighting and other battery-powered tools to aid them in their service of western Sanborn County.

Also recognized that evening, the Fedora Volunteer Fire Department received a $5,000 grant from the South Dakota Salutes Special Needs Fund. The Fedora department plans on using the money as part of their effort to raise $10,000 for personal protective gear to update their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) gear, including new air cylinders, o-rings and reconditioned valves.

The grant was made possible from donations to South Dakota Salutes from Sammons Financial Group Companies in Sioux Falls. The South Dakota Salutes Special Needs Fund is managed through the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation that collects donations in part to support grants to rural South Dakota emergency response organizations. 

…See a picture in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

In a recent article in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul Tenhaken pointed out an issue of growing concern. According to the statement made by Mayor Tenhaken, “a lack of reliable, affordable daycare is the #1 issue affecting our workforce.” This is a growing concern in Woonsocket as well.

With 75 percent of children under six years old having both parents in the workforce, it is becoming an increasing concern that the number of daycare facilities in the state has fallen steadily for more than a decade. Registered, in-home providers fell by half since 2012. There are many reasons for the shortage, especially for those who are registered with the state:  licensing restrictions limit the number of children that can be cared for and it is difficult to find child care workers. If a registered daycare provider wants to provide care to more children, the requirements for education, certification, and number of staff needed far outweighs the ability of the daycare to pay the expenses.  In rural communities, it is even more difficult to find qualified child care workers. Add on the long hours daycares need to be open to allow time for parents to travel to and from work, and it becomes a career very few people are attracted to. With a lack of workers and tight restrictions on the number of children that can be cared for, it is almost impossible for a daycare to remain viable. The Argus Leader article stated that the average cost for daycare in Sioux Falls is $200 per week per child.  In Woonsocket, the average cost for daycare is half that amount at $100 per week with many providers offering discounts for multiple children in the same family or weekly after school rates that barely cover the cost of a snack, let alone the wages of those supervising.  

…Read on in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

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